NovaTerra / jaargang 4 / nummer 1 / april 2004 / 30
On the way to food…
This article is about my graduation project at the Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology: ‘On the way to food’. It explores the relation between people’s daily lives and the built environment, which I call ‘Life Design‘.
Tajima Masayuki, TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture / Illustrations: Tajima Masayuki
Life design can be seen as a mixture of urban design and, in this case, food culture. The aim is to create a balanced and higher quality society. ‘On the way to food’ describes a bottom up process in which people are encouraged to participate in something like the ‘slow food’ movement. Just as ‘fast food’ is characterised by a distinct architecture and urban context (often roadside parking lots) ‘slow food’ needs a specific urban design as well. In a broader sense, this covers aspects like quality of space, culture, economy, environment, society, atmosphere, taste, feeling and networking. Life design should pull these various strands together and transform them into physical elements we can enjoy in real space.
food culture = cooking culture + restaurant culture Fabricia’s book about food wonderfully illustrates the maxim ‘You are what you eat’. 1 Food creates direct value for both individuals and society. Food culture is diverse and flexible and is an integral part of the food cycle. When we define this cycle as production, consumption and waste, we find food culture where production and consumption intersects. Two important elements in this are ‘cooking culture’ and ‘restaurant culture’: cooking culture involves the creative process; restaurant culture is about entertainment and going out. Combining these elements in an urban setting requires creative solutions, in terms of architecture and urban planning. The
combination of food culture and urban design is new, but could nevertheless fit well into contemporary urban societies. For a food culture to develop we need strong core areas in our cities where urban design is dedicated to all aspects of food. What makes such a centre attract people is taste transaction, creative thinking and enlightenment through experience: tasting, own cooking, watching others cook and guessing how they do it; atmosphere, sound, smell and so on. This is the type of urban environment we should create. the potential for food culture in north-west europe Food culture has developed slowly in the Netherlands and in Northwest Europe. The
NovaTerra / jaargang 4 / nummer 1 / april 2004 / 31
Cooking Making Culture Culture Restaurant Culture Consumption Culture
Sustainability Global Scale Operation European Trend, Organic Product Top down approach Nederland as leading countries
City, Food culture (network of people) Ethics Identity of the area Political (social and cultural) Economical--Commercialism Bottom up approach Slow food vs Fast food
Ecology Recycling Burnt
Figuur 1 Development of food culture.
Calvinistic culture in Holland was one in which spending more than absolutely necessary on food was frowned upon and eating in a restaurant was thought to be a waste of money. Family life was conducted indoors. At the same time the Dutch did not have a tradition of growing or processing their own food. Poor climatic conditions also hindered the development of a food culture; people enjoy food more when they can choose to eat inside or outside. For Europe as a whole, the disruption of two devastating world wars slowed down the interaction between nations and peoples, for a long time preventing the spread of food products and culinary traditions throughout the continent. But now, in the 21st century, the situation is different. Looking forward, I anticipate that globalisation and technological developments will encourage number of trends: – The development of a more constructive attitude towards food culture and its promotion. – The use of existing assets: the agriculture and biotech industries; cultural environments such as historical elements and districts (creating romantic
places); transport infrastructure for exporting and importing produce; and greater ethnic diversity. – The adoption of more general European trends and mentalities towards food, linking environmental concerns with food quality. – Bringing different cultures together and creating new culinary traditions. san francisco – a centre of food culture A good example of an urban structure that supports food culture is the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The city of San Francisco is the centre of this food culture, with a clear centre of gravity in the downtown area. In turn, this centre connects to the surrounding food sub-centres: Berkeley for Californian cuisine, San Jose for Mexican food and Napa Valley for wines. Each city has its own vivid colour. The well laid out infrastructure system guarantees the fresh delivery of ingredients and a rapid transaction of taste. It enables people to move around in search of great taste and a variety of good but cheap ingredients. This networking and sharing of information makes the San Francisco Bay area a place
where going out and cooking culture resonate constantly. food culture in rotterdam The city of Rotterdam has a number of elements in place for developing a food culture, both in quality and quantity. The city is ethnically diverse, has a wellestablished infrastructure system (port and motorway system) and occupies a good location in both the Randstad and NorthWest Europe. Unfortunately, Rotterdam lacks a clear focal point for food culture. The biweekly market at the Binnenrotte near station Blaak (the largest food market in the Netherlands) could be an important element for such a focal point because it is a source of fresh and cheap products. But although the Blaak area provides a backbone for a cooking culture, it does not provide the necessary activities for taste and cooking creativity itself. Something is lacking. wijnhaven – regenerating an inner city area Situated near the Binnenrotte market, the Wijnhaven (Wine harbour) is ideally located
NovaTerra / jaargang 4 / nummer 1 / april 2004 / 32
R otte rd am C e ntral Station
Blaak Be urs O ud e H ave n
Major Stre e t for autom ob ile
Witte d e With Straat
Ex is ting Pub lic D om ain C ity icons to d e fine b ound ary of R otte rd am d owntown are a Urb an Sche m e for this p roje ct
PR O PO SA L LO C A T IO N
Ex p e cte d Flow afte r the inte rve ntion
Eras m us Brid ge
Flow from outs id e of d owntown are a
Figuur 2 Food culture in Rotterdam.
between two major transit hubs (Beurs and Blaak) and between the two bridges that connect the northern and southern parts of the city (Willemsbrug and Erasmusbrug). After the bombardment of 1940 the Wijnhaven area was developed as a monofunctional office area and remained that way for about fifty years. The area is now undergoing an urban renewal process in which the Wijnhaveneiland and surrounding area is being transformed into a mixed-use, high-rise, high-density urban area. The excellent accessibility, the close proximity of the city centre (within walking distance) and the spatial quality of the surrounding water makes it an outstanding location. As a linear element the Wijnhaven can easily connect the city’s ‘cultural axis’,
the Witte de Withstraat, with another concentration of cafés, bars and restaurants, the Oude Haven. All these qualities create the right conditions for a successful urban redevelopment. But the Wijnhaven is still lacking a dominant culture; food culture could fill that gap. a new food culture centre The development of the Wijnhaven area should first connect the Witte de Withstraat to the Oude Haven. A bridge stretching from the Witte de Withstraat is necessary to guarantee a smooth flow of people. Since bringing people over to the Wijnhaven area is key to the success of the further development, we could start treating the area as an extension of the Witte de Withstraat, the current ‘cultural
axis’. Eventually, Wijnhaven could offer a strong food culture combined with businesses, home offices, entertainment, housing and a sports centre. The idea is to promote a balanced community that understands the essence of Life Design. This concentration of creative ideas and enlightenment will eventually become the motor for the generation of a strong food culture here. A strong emphasis is put on cooking culture because its creative skill and thinking is an essential ingredient for a progressive food culture. The new food culture core could contain the following main components: A Ministry of Taste a food culture think-tank for ideas, research, marketing, promotion, advice and education. This will include
NovaTerra / jaargang 4 / nummer 1 / april 2004 / 33
HoReCa + Related Cultural Promotion
History of Food Culture in NL Experimental Installation of Smell + Sound + Visual + Space Museum Store Cafe Food Museum Brown Color Recycling of the building Phenomenon-Trust Kitchen + Eating Space
Green as Roof garden area
Addition on top of recycled building as theater
Film & Dance Theater Food Museum Office, Audio Visual and Media, restaurant at Prominent location such as top floor Cooking School, Hotel Relocated Radio Station + new media office
Supermarket, pub, cafe restaurtnat, others
HoReCa + related cultural promotion for the Wijnhaven area.
scouting for new talent, locally as well as from all over the world. The role of the ‘Ministry of Taste’ is to promote a creative and economically viable food culture. A free speech area where anyone can come and sell food. As more and more people come to sell their own culinary creations on the street at an affordable price, the crossfertilisation of various tastes will accelerate, resulting in a rich food culture. The Ministry of Taste will supervise the free speech area to enforce standards of quality and taste. A commercial interface spread over three floors, each floor with a different theme. – Ground floor: Tapas + Drinks. At ‘Tapas’ the characteristics of each store will be based on the cooking method, such as baked, steamed or deep-fried. The creative contribution of chefs from different countries will be combined under the same cooking method, with the potential for creating interesting combinations of food and taste. The menu will be the chef’s own slow food or fusion, depending on their mood.
The ‘Drinks’ section will be similarly structured. With the flexibility for free movement, infinite combinations of food and drinks will be available, providing something for everyone. – First floor: Cafés. Cafés will be located right next to the ‘cultural axis’ where people pass by and want to show off. The advantage of having a food avenue on the first floor is that commercial functions could spread over the levels above and below. – Second floor: Restaurants. The second floor is about restaurants with a relaxed atmosphere and fine food teppanyaki style. Diners can watch the chef in action and even talk to the chef, adding to the entertainment value of the culinary experience. A flexible mobile system made up by a special team of food vendors that could go anywhere to support festival and events. A food museum to support slow food and emphasise the importance of taste education as well as experimental collaboration between different cultural
activities (food, art, sound, music, painting, space, light). A cooking school for the public, which can also be used to hold small private company parties, offering complete hospitality with an assigned chef. The participants could join in the cooking process if they wish. broader support necessary Although there are many more opportunities to explore, this approach to developing a food culture concentrated in a single location is rather new and seems promising. Life Design is an elegant fusion of food and design, with the potential to create a unique urban environment, which in it turn can support urban renewal programmes like the Wijnhaven area in Rotterdam. The establishment of a ‘Ministry of Taste’ would provide the motor behind the necessary innovation to keep the field of food culture moving in an economical and efficient way. Even though public awareness about food is growing, food culture still needs strong support from local and national governments,
NovaTerra / jaargang 4 / nummer 1 / april 2004 / 34
Food Museum Experimental Space--art installation with 5 senses toward the unique yet great experience Food Museum Dutch food history and items exhibition Radio station will be relocated here. The other type Gift shop of Media and New media companies are also Cooking School encouraged here, so that it gives reinforcement in Where the informal relationship can build promotion of food idea.
Where you learn skill Where you can also stay Where you can party
Roof Activity, Access to Roof garden/cafe. Prominent location-public space. Circulation penetrating direction.
38 Mixture of business, commercial: Shopping, retail, restaurant, cafe, Gallery, travel agency, clothing shop.
Hotel Office Residential 27 Office + Media Development Phase 1 3 2
Flexible development 10 6 7 5 Existing Residential Art School
Roof Garden Open Space
Housing Public space for residence Ministry of Taste
For more creative solution for excitement and better taste in our life.
Quality Tapas Bar
Movement (people & Cars) as view Active Faster Pace North side ( thus clear to see the things) City view
2nd Floor 1st Floor Ground Floor
Water as view Passive Slower Pace South side City escape
Reflection of the Bottom - Up. Dedication and stimulation to Ground floor area as free speech area with public participation.
Figuur 4 Proposal for the Wijnhaven area. The advantage of having a food avenue on the first floor is that commercial functions could spread over the levels above and below.
such as the city of Rotterdam, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. For various reasons, they all should accept the importance of food culture and support it: food culture can strengthen Rotterdam’s leisure industry; it teaches us important daily cultural values; and the emphasis on food quality is central to its philosophy.
The project even has a European dimension: it supports the fusion of different cooking styles in a common European Cuisine. The vision falls nothing short of raising food culture into a cultural heritage we can proudly pass on to future generations. And that is called prosperity
For reactions: email@example.com.
Note 1 Fabrica (editor), 2003. 2398g: A Book About Food, Edizione Electa, p 88.